Fall 2001 Shoppe Talk San Marino Toy and Book Shoppe

There’s a hint of fall in the air as school is back in session and the lazy days of summer are fading into memory. Along with the usual apples and pumpkins, you can look for a wonderful new crop of books appearing on our shelves. Stop in and we’ll introduce you to the best of the bunch with titles for everyone to enjoy. Our well-read staff is eager to share holiday books, novels, picture books, poetry and suggestions for gift ideas!

Charming New Story Collections for All Ages

    Happy Birthday to Pooh!

Seventy-five years ago, a chubby stuffed bear of little brain but great wisdom came bumping down the stairs and into our hearts. Edward Bear, known as Winnie-the-Pooh, is beloved of millions of readers who identify with his friends; a timid piglet, a wise old owl, a rambunctious tiger, a fussy rabbit, and Eeyore, the gloomy donkey. A. A. Milne’s simple stories show thoughtful insights into human nature. THE COMPLETE TALES & POEMS OF WINNIE-THE-POOH brings them all together in one full-color book graced by Ernest Shephard’s original illustrations. It makes a perfect holiday gift for those who read Pooh as a child and those who want to introduce him to a new generation.  (All ages, $40.00)

Wouldn’t you just love to cuddle up next to your favorite celebrity and have them tell you their version of a fairytale! In ONCE UPON A FAIRYTALE twenty-one celebrity authors are paired with award-winning illustrators to tackle four favorite storybook characters. Meet Little Red Riding Hood retold by Robin Williams or Oprah Winfrey. Rumplestiltskin will never be the same after you compare Kelsey Grammer’s version with how Gwyneth Paltrow tells it. Steven Spielberg’s Frog Prince differs from Martha Stewart’s. How about Goldilocks and the Three Bears by Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf! The equally incredible illustrators — Jerry Pinkney, Mary Englebreit, and David Shannon just to name a few — capture the features of each celebrity. Also included is a full-length CD of the celebrities performing, all to benefit the Starbright Foundation, which was established to improve the lives of seriously ill children. What a treat! (All ages, $29.99)

YOU READ TO ME & I’LL READ TO YOU is like having a library of some of the best children’s books all in one volume. Selected by Janet Schulman, it includes over two dozen stories from the twentieth century with artwork by the original illustrators. What a fabulous way to introduce families to classics like Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, Freckle Juice, and The True Story of the Three Little Pigs. Children will love getting to know memorable characters like Flat Stanley, Horton the Elephant, and the Tomten. Just right for children who are beginning to read, it will quickly become a bedtime favorite. It makes an excellent gift for grandparents, babysitters and your own home library! All the stories are fun to read aloud or alone, with illustrations that help the beginning reader. (Ages 5 & up, $34.95)

Picture Books

    ...For the Very Young

Tedd Arnold has written a hilarious companion to Parts called MORE PARTS. Our language can confuse children who take what they hear literally. The frazzled child in this story worries about things that may cause him to “break his heart”, “give someone a hand”, or “hold his tongue”. He ties a pillow around his middle, glues his hands into gloves, and ties a bow around his tongue. When he decides to stay in his room, his parents reassure him that his friend’s baby sister will not really “scream her lungs out” of her body. That’s just a phrase people use. He is relieved until they say, “We thought you’d lost your mind!” and he pictures his brain on the floor. Beware, your own kids may just laugh their heads off! (Ages 4–8, $15.99)

Are you ready for an ALPHABET ADVENTURE? Then let’s join 26 active little lower-case letters. They have worked hard all summer and are on their way to the first day of school. Uh oh, little “i” loses her dot! No problem, the other letters zoom around looking for a suitable substitute. That is enough to make the mischievous dot return … before it can be replaced. Children will enjoy looking for that busy dot hiding on each page. Audrey Wood has written a good story and her son, illustrator Bruce Wood, endows the little letters with definite personalities. 
(Ages 3 & up, $15.95)

Time for a countdown at the pond! Cathryn Falwell both wrote and illustrated TURTLE SPLASH! Starring ten timid turtles, lounging in a line who are startled by a bull frog, a noisy rabbit and a red squirrel. Oh dear, now there are only seven. The appearance of some deer, ducks, and even polliwogs keeps the young reader entranced. The story starts in the morning and by end of day no little turtles are left until you turn the page and there are all ten settled in for the night. Information about all the animals is given along with directions for making a leaf print. The author/illustrator’s studio overlooks Frog Song Pond, whose inhabitants were the inspiration for this book. (Ages 3 & up, $15.95)

   ...For Everyone to Enjoy
Andy’s family has always lived in a rundown apartment but they dream of owning their own home. Mother says “Our family is rich in more ways then we can count.” One day Andy hears about an organization that buys empty houses and fixes them up. Those who help with the project will some day be able to have one of those houses. Andy’s parents sign up to help with A CASTLE ON VIOLA STREET. Now everyone can watch the progress as the boarded-up wrecks are slowly refurbished. As they work, the neighbors become friends and the whole area becomes a better place to live. Author DyAnne DiSalvo’s own experience with a group like this inspired the story which includes a note from the president of Habitat for Humanity International.  (Ages 5–8, $15.95)

You’ll fall in love with GUS AND BUTTON just by looking at the cover of this clever picture book by the amazingly talented team of Saxton Freymann and Joose Elffers. They create pictures that are not quite what they seem at first. But as you really look, you see that everything in them is edible! Join Gus and his dog, Button, who are made of mushrooms. Their world was mostly a soft shade of brown until something green blew in which starts Gus on a quest through the mighty artichoke forest. The puns in the text are as funny as the use of vegetables to create the residents of Cornucopia. What a fun book for the whole family to enjoy. Check out the foods listed in the back and then find them in the book. You’ll never look at vegetables the same way again! (All ages, $15.95)

Joe Hayes, a storyteller in Santa Fe, New Mexico, retells the story of JUAN VERDADES; The Man Who Couldn’t Tell a Lie. Juan is so honest that his employer bets his entire ranch on Juan’s inability to tell a lie. One of the rancheros, Don Ignacio, brings his wife and daughter to the ranch to keep an eye on Juan. His daughter is sure she can trick Juan into not telling the truth. When they fall in love, it complicates her plan. Juan proves himself not only honest but clever in this folktale found all over the world. Can you figure out his riddle? The illustrations are by Joseph Daniel Fiedler. (All ages, $16.95)

A loving father and daughter share a special relationship in READING WITH DAD by Richard Jorgensen. The daughter’s first childhood memory is of the two of them snug in an overstuffed chair sharing a book. As she grows older, they continue this practice, especially on nights when it is hard to sleep. When she goes off to college Dad wants to know “What are you reading?” Now she reads with her own children and grandpa listens, so she is still reading with Dad. May we all be so blessed. Warren Hanson’s soft illustrations capture the mood of this endearing story you will want to share with your children and your Dad.  (All ages, $15.95)

“There was once a wide, windswept place, near nowhere and close to forgotten, that was filled with all the things that no one wanted”. What a lyrical beginning for THE TIN FOREST, an unusual picture book by Helen Ward. An old man lives there who dreams every night of a lively forest filled with animals. Inspired by a broken light fixture that reminds him of a flower, he begins work on a fantastic forest made from the trash and garbage. One day, a bird arrives, bearing seeds in its beak and the artificial forest begins to transform. Wayne Anderson’s fanciful illustrations complement and enhance the story. Everyone will find this a gentle reminder that where there is imagination, there is always hope. (Ages 3–9, $15.99)

She might be the smallest in her class, have buck teeth, and a voice like a bullfrog being squeezed by a boa constrictor, but this plucky little girl heeded her grandmother’s excellent advice to STAND TALL, MOLLY LOU MELON. She stands tall, smiles big, and sings out strong. When she moves to a new school Ronald Durkin teases her about her size and calls her names. She just outplays him on the football field, stacks pennies on her teeth, and cuts out the most beautiful snowflake in art class. The other kids love her at once and even Ronald is finally charmed. The last page is such a hoot showing Molly Lou’s grandmother reading the letter her granddaughter has sent, thanking her for her excellent advice. Patty Lovell’s text makes it clear that you just need to be yourself. David Catrow’s illustrations were inspired by a tiny, premature baby girl whose energy and zest for life never lets her size get in her way. What a combination!  (Ages 4–8, $14.99)

Another character who will steal your heart is SCATTERBRAIN SAM. He’s a bit eccentric but he sure loves Maizie Mae, his daredevil sweetheart. As Sam searches for more smarts, he visits the Widder Woman who agrees to mix him up a potion if Sam will answer her riddles. As he ponders each, Maizie comes along and helps him figure them out. He sure loves that gal. When the Widder Woman’s potion, glue stew, is finished Maizie falls in and Sam tips over the pot determined to save her. Off they go on a wild ride that glues a hanging barn door back on it’s hinges, mends cracks in the sidewalk, sticks stamps on the letters in the post office, and glues Maizie to the church door. Sam knows exactly what to do next. Ellen Jackson keeps the pace rolling and Matt Faulkner’s madcap illustrations add even more humor. This one will tickle your funnybone. 
(All ages, $15.95) 

Do you have a really great Principal at your school? Most kids liked Mr. Lincoln because he wore the coolest clothes and did the coolest things, like tea parties with the kindergarteners and star gazing parties with kids and their families. But Mean Gene, the school bully, was trouble spelled with a capital T. It would take special effort, which was MR. LINCOLN’S WAY, to reach this boy. Noticing Gene’s interest in birds, Mr. Lincoln enlists his help in attracting birds for the school atrium. Together, they researched plants and seeds, and even built a bird feeder. Then, Gene causes trouble for some students from Mexico and Mr. Lincoln must find a way to help this troubled boy deal with his problems. You’ll have tears in your eyes when you see how love can change a life. Patricia Polacco both wrote this story and illustrated it. It belongs in every library and classroom. Don’t miss this one! (Ages 6 & up, $16.99)

Another book that centers around school is THE FROG PRINCIPAL by Stephanie Calmenson. The kids at P.S. 88 think Mr. Bundy is the best principal in town. While interviewing Marty Q. Marvel for a magic program, Mr. Bundy is turned into a frog! He is hopping mad, especially when the magician admits he doesn’t know how to undo the trick. He hides in a nearby pond where some of his students looking for their missing ball are amazed to find a talking frog. He offers to give them the ball if they will let him be their principal. The kids agree, but they don’t really mean to honor their agreement. He takes over his own job but will he ever return to his former self? Denise Brunkus adds a wonderful touch with her zany illustrations.   (Ages 4–9, $15.95) 


Mildred Taylor has written a seven-book series following the Logan family set in the not-so-distant past. The Logans are the only black family to own farmland while most of their neighbors are sharecroppers on white-owned land. Where did this precious legacy come from? THE LAND takes us back to the beginning, with Paul-Edward Logan, son of a white plantation owner and a former slave. His father loves all of his children so Paul and his sister enjoy many privileges that cause problems when Paul comes of age. Beaten for striking a white man, Paul runs away accompanied by Mitchell, a former enemy who becomes his best friend. Together they pursue their dream of owning land, almost impossible for a black person in the post-Civil War South. Their adventures will leave you breathless. (Ages 12 & up, $17.99)

One day in 1893 Rosie Beckett’s family receives a letter that will change their whole lives. Aunt Euterpe has sent tickets for several of them to join her in Chicago and visit the World’s Fair. Rosie and her siblings, accompanied by Grandad, leave their backwoods home for the big city. FAIR WEATHER tells about their adventure as they spend a week seeing the new sights and marvels at the Exposition. Their country manners are a bit of a shock to their widowed Aunt, but before long she is enticed to leave her house and join them. One highlight is the Buffalo Bill Wild West Show where Buffalo Bill himself greets their Grandad as an old friend, much to their amazement. And Grandad fulfills a life-long dream when he meets the famous actress Lillian Russell. Richard Peck has created a lively cast of unforgettable characters in a tale filled with action, adventure and humor. (Ages 10 & up, $16.99) 

What would your life be like if you discovered you were a “ghost magnet”? That is the dilemma Allie Nichols faces when first she hears, and then she sees the ghost of a mysterious boy who had died in a fire. Life had been complicated enough when, much to her own surprise, Allie volunteers to interview Mrs. Hobbs (known to the students as the “Snapping Turtle”) for a class assignment. And it soon becomes obvious that Mrs. Hobbs is hiding a tragedy in her past that is somehow connected to Allie’s ghost. THE GHOST AND MRS. HOBBS is a chilling mystery that gives the reader just enough clues to show that things are not always what they appear to be. Cynthia DeFelice introduced Allie in an earlier story, The Ghost of Fossil Glen, in which Allie solves another mystery with the help of her best friend, Dubb. Both stories are filled with suspense and creepy details that hold your attention to the last page.  (Ages 8–12, $16.00)

One of the best characters to come along this fall is BELLE TEAL. Belle lives with her Mom and her Gran, a family of women. Mama teaches her the value of hard work, working several jobs to put money in Belle’s college fund. Gran has kept the house and cooked for them, but lately she seems to have trouble remembering things. Belle and best friend Clarice love having Miss Casey for their fifth grade teacher at Coker Creek Elementary in this fall of 1962. There is much excitement with two new students — Vanessa, whom Belle calls HRH for her snooty manners, and Darryl, one of three new African-American children. Belle likes Darryl right off and soon joins him at the lunch table. Other classmates are not so tolerant, especially Little Boss who secretly considers Belle his girlfriend. The story is filled with humor and pathos. One moment you laugh with Belle as she writes about her life in her journal. The next, you are on the edge of your seat, wondering what will happen when the kids in the class see that Belle and Darryl have switched Halloween costumes, fooling everyone. Ann M. Martin has created a very special girl making the best of life in a troubled time. It will be hard to put this one down.  (Ages 8–12, $15.95) 

BECOMING LITTLE WOMEN is about Louisa May Alcott’s early years at Fruitlands, an old red farm house her father has chosen. It is a place where they will grow their own food and live in harmony with nature. Although Louisa must share her attic room with others, she finds a tree where she writes her innermost thoughts. She has doubts about those who have come to Fruitlands insisting on sharing not only the money and the work, but the families. Some want the women to live separately from the men, an idea Louisa’s mother resists. What seemed so wonderful in theory proves to be one challenge after another and soon the little community is in danger of failing. Jeannine Atkins describes this period in Louisa’s life, showing the good and the bad, using excerpts from her childhood diary. The reader can see the people and events that would appear in her later writings. This book is a delight for all Louisa May Alcott fans and a wonderful introduction to those who do not know about her life.  (Ages 8–12, $16.99)

Another really good story, TILL TOMORROW, by John Donahue, deals with tolerance under trying circumstances. Terrence O’Brien, called O.B., moves around a lot with his military family. In the summer of 1961 they are stationed in Meuse, France, where O.B. quickly learns that there are two kinds of kids, aces or deuces. He is determined to be accepted by his classmates as an ace but doing so means being mean to a local French boy, Claude. O.B. fails to make the baseball team and ends up working the scoreboard with Claude. As their paths cross, he comes to realize that Claude offers real friendship and O.B. must choose whom he will side with. A restricted area offers excitement and danger because it contains unexploded bombs from World War I. All the boys know they must not play there but it is Claude who shows the most courage when the boys break the rules. Donahue writes with authenticity. He spent a summer on a French base during the Berlin Crisis, when his father was stationed there on a peace-keeping mission. His description of the hill where a great battle had been fought makes the reader feel like they are right there. (Ages 8–12, $16.00) 

LORD OF THE NUTCRACKER MEN, set during World War I, is a haunting tale of those who go off to war and those who wait for them at home. Ten-year-old Johnny plays at war with the nutcracker soldiers his dad carves for him. The letters that arrive tell an awful story of what war is really like and the carved soldiers he receives bear some of those scars. As Johnny continues to pit his soldiers against one another, he begins to believe he can control their fate and his dad’s, even the outcome of the war itself. It is a gripping story by the talented Iain Lawrence(Ages 10 & up, $15.95) 

Getting Guys to Read

Popular author Jon Scieszka is promoting a new literacy program to connect boys with books they will want to read, to help boys become better readers, better students, better guys. In support of this great idea, we will suggest a couple of books that are just what Jon is hoping boys will read.

Patricia MacLachlin continues the saga begun with Sarah, Plain and Tall. This is CALEB’S STORY. The stranger who appears one day upsets Caleb’s Papa. It is his grandfather, who deserted his family when Papa was a boy. Papa cannot forgive him but Caleb desperately wants to know and love this unhappy man. They become friends and Caleb discovers that his grandfather does not know how to read. The storm brewing in the house matches the fury of the storm that hits their farm as Papa is injured during an argument with Grandfather. Just when it seemed that they had all become a family, Caleb fears it will all be torn apart. It will take all of Caleb’s love and a special gift to heal hurts of the past. (Ages 8–12, $14.95) 

Arturo Rodriguez lives in the barrio of East Los Angeles. He is surrounded by a loving family, has good food to eat, close friends, and basketball. But, there are also frightening places and chilling events that make him question the world around him. When he is angered by hoodlums who drive by and shoot up the front of his house, Papa wisely counsels, “In life there is bueno and there is malo. If you do not find enough of the good, you must yourself create it”. Tony Johnston has written a sensitive portrayal of a young man who comes to learn that ANY SMALL GOODNESS is of value, and many such examples of “small goodnesses” fill the book. Officers investigating the shooting notice that Arturo’s little sister’s new lunch box has been destroyed. The next day, one of them comes to the door bringing a “small goodness” — a replacement lunchbox. (Ages 9 & up, $15.95)

Most boys in this age group are already familiar with The Time Warp Trio series by Jon Scieszka. These hysterical historical short novels star three friends who have previously conquered Greek monsters and Roman gladiators but face their fiercest opponent yet in SAM SAMURAI. A haiku poetry writing assignment “kicks” off their latest adventure in time travel. Told at breakneck pace with very wry humor, this whole series is just plain fun reading. (Ages 7–11, $14.99) 

Yo ho ho, and avast ye swabs! Michael Hague has selected and illustrated THE BOOK OF 
PIRATES. The galleon in full sail on the cover is enough to make you want to settle in and read these stories and poems by Robert Louis Stevenson, J.M. Barrie, and Arthur Conan Doyle, among others. You can almost hear the bloodthirsty yells and feel the ships swaying on the rough seas. It is a glorious thing to be a pirate King but keep your wits about you or you’ll have to walk the plank! (All ages, $19.95)


There is something so beautiful and intriguing about THE GREAT SHIPS. Patrick O’Brien put together a biography of twenty of the greatest vessels ever to sail the seven seas. You could spend a long time just looking at the sketches on the endpapers which show the scale of the ships of all sizes and shapes, used for many different purposes. It’s like an armchair sail though nautical history from the Viking longships that left their local waters to explore and pillage to Cheng Ho’s Chinese treasure ship, one of the world’s largest wooden ships, that led a fleet in the early 1400’s. There is the story of the Bounty and its mutineers; the Victory, England’s most famous fighting ship; and the Flying Cloud that brought adventures to the gold rush. Especially interesting is a section entitled “Where are They Now?” telling where many of the ships can be seen today. (Ages 6–10, $16.95) 

Leonardo da Vinci had a special dream of capturing the perfect horse in motion. Jean Fritz has created an amazing book about this famous man. The first half of the book tells about his life with humor and anecdotes. How, as a young man, he dressed in rose-colored velvet togas, wrote backwards, and wouldn’t eat meat. He bought caged birds just to set them free. This brilliant man was an engineer, an architect, a musician, a philosopher and an astronomer … who also painted. But, on his deathbed, he regretted the bronze horse that was never completed when the French invaded Milan. The second half of the book tells of Charles Dent who loved art. He decided that LEONARDO’S HORSE needed to be built as a gift from the American people to the people of Italy. He would need a special building, and a lot of help to finally make this dream come true. Interestingly, the book’s illustrator, Hudson Talbot, grew up loving horses in Kentucky and later studied art in Italy. He had planned to visit the statue on a trip to Milan but ran out of time. However, when he returned home he found a message querying his interest in doing this book. Author Jean Fritz has written over 35 highly acclaimed books for young readers. This collaboration makes for a fascinating and beautiful book. 
(Ages 5 & up, $16.99)

There was a time when no one knew what dinosaurs looked like. It was a Victorian artist who brought these fascinating animals to the public. THE DINOSAURS OF WATERHOUSE HAWKINS were life-sized models Hawkins built with the help of scientist Richard Owen. With the approval of the King and Queen, Hawkins proceeded. He revealed his first masterpiece at a dinner party for 29 of the top scientists of the day. The guests were served at a table inside the model of an iguanadon! Eventually, Hawkins built many other models on an island on a lake in Sydenham Park. News of his success reached America and Waterhouse was invited to come to New York and build dinosaurs for Central Park. When a corrupt politician said the proposed museum was a waste of money, Hawkins disagreed. His dream was shattered when vandals broke into his workshop, smashed his models and then buried the pieces in the park. People can still visit his dinosaurs in England but the remains of the American dinosaurs have never been found. This amazing story, written by Barbara Kerley, is presented in a book designed by illustrator Brian Selznick to resemble Hawkins own journal. It is an unforgettable tale, with drawings that will hold your attention for a long time. Don’t miss the Bill of Fare for Hawkins’s dinner guests on the back endpapers! 
(Ages 6 & up, $16.95) 

Hugh Brewster and Laurie Coulter have collaborated on TO BE A PRINCESS, the fascinating lives of real princesses. Each of the bios is sprinkled with paintings by Laurie McGaw, as well as photographs of their possessions and period artifacts. Arranged chronologically, it begins with rival sisters Mary and Elizabeth Tudor. Marie Antoinette’s story is very poignant, showing a different side of this princess of Austria and France. We also get to know princesses from Hawaii, Russia and India. The epilogue (which includes a glossary) goes into details of just what it means to be princess. Life was often far from glamorous for these ladies and royal life could be complicated and dangerous. The anecdotes bring the women to life and make them seem very human. (Ages 8–14, $17.95)

With the holidays coming how about a guide to hundreds of creative, cool, and clever ways to express appreciation? THE THANK YOU BOOK FOR KIDS is by Ali Lauren Spizman, a 14-year-old with tips on writing those notes to friends and family members. She tells how to “start smart” gathering the supplies, making an address book, and learning about stamps. Her tips for how to make your “thank-you” really super will inspire kids, especially as they see her examples of how to turn an okay note into something memorable. Imagine a thank-you poem! Best to buy several copies of this one as you’ll definitely want one of your own. (Ages 8 & up, $12.95) 

For Those Fantasy Fans

The Depford Mice, freed from the rat-infested sewers of the city in the first book of this series, The Dark Portal, are now settled in the country. But life is far from quiet as a series of murders occurs and young Audrey becomes the prime suspect. The spirit of Jupiter, evil lord of the sewers, has followed them, working secretly in the person of Akkikuyu, an old gypsy rat. When Audrey’s brother lies dying, only the Starwife can save him and she demands that Audrey take Akkikuyu on a journey. It is on this perilous journey that Audrey will encounter danger and THE CRYSTAL PRISON. Robin Jarvis is weaving a wonderful trilogy that all fantasy lovers will devour eagerly. It will be hard to wait for Fall 2002 for The Final Reckoning, Book 3 of the Depford Mice Trilogy
(Ages 10 & up, $17.95)

Do you remember a certain craze for slightly gross books that, well, gave you goose bumps? Something very strange is happening at Franny’s new school where the kids are being influenced by a similar series of books. THE MYSTERIOUS MATTER OF I.M. FINE starts out innocently enough with a jelly-worm fad, but when the next book causes readers to get violent headaches, Franny and her new friend Beamer decide to get to the bottom of the trouble and track down the illusive author. Mystery fans will catch some of the clues but this funny, scary story by Diane Stanley will keep you guessing right up to the end!  (Ages 9 & up, $15.95) 

Well, he may not be Harry Potter, but ARTEMIS FOWL, will be gathering his own legion of fans. He is a genius, a criminal mastermind, a millionaire — and 12 years old. He is on a quest to restore his family’s criminal empire and he plans to hold a fairy for ransom to do it. Despite what most people think, fairies, goblins, and dwarves still exist but they are living deep underground. Only the leprechauns are allowed above ground, in their capacity as an elite police force maintaining order among the magical folk. While these LEP police have a ransom fund, no human has succeeded in threatening it, until now. Filled with a cast of unusual characters, like a satyr who is a computer whiz, and Artemis’ faithful manservant, Butler, Eoin Colfer keeps the adventure careening along like some theme park master ride and it’s every bit as exciting. The mix of fantasy characters and modern technology allows for plenty of action. (Ages 12 & up, $16.95)

News Flash! Return of a Beloved Classic!
Russell Hoban wrote THE MOUSE AND HIS CHILD in 1967, now considered by many to be one of the greatest works of twentieth century children’s literature. It is back in print just in time for all those fantasy fans who are anxiously awaiting a heart-stopping read. The Mouse and his Child is a clockwork toy joined at the hands. Sold, damaged, and then tossed in the trash, they are found by a tramp that winds them, sets them on the road and tells them to “be tramps”. So off they go on an incredible adventure that leads them to the bizarre world of Manny Rat, king of the junk yard, who forces clockwork toys to scrounge for him. The father and son struggle to keep their dream of reuniting with a toy elephant and the beautiful doll house from the toy store. Each chapter brings them deeper into danger as they face the world armed with love for one another and incredible courage. This may prove too scary for a read-aloud with pre-schoolers but it will keep the rest of the family eager for each session. Gather together and take turns reading it aloud as the tension builds to a final showdown with Manny and his army. (Ages 8 & up, $16.95) 

Poetry for Sharing

Not really a poetry book, but a novel in the format of a poetry journal, LOVE THAT DOG chronicles a student’s first unwilling introduction to the world of poetry. Jack’s resistance weakens as he responds to the various styles of poetry brought into class by his teacher, Miss Stretchberry. Written entirely in Jack’s voice, the reader is intrigued and delighted by Jack’s responses to each new style as he is drawn both into an appreciation for poetry as well as finding a creative outlet to deal with the tragic loss of his yellow dog, Sky. In the back of the book author Sharon Creech has included the poems that have inspired Jack to develop his voice. From his entry, September 21, “I tried./ Can’t do it./ Brain’s empty.” to May 28 “The bulletin board/ looks like it’s/ blooming words/ with everybody’s poems/ up there”, this book is a delight to read out loud or to tuck in your pocket for a quiet read. We definitely “Love This Book!”  (Ages 8 & up, $14.95)

The cats Wendell Minor has put on the cover of CAT, WHAT IS THAT? seem to be inviting the reader to open the book and learn all about these elegant creatures. Just why are cats so special? Tony Johnston captures their many charms with lyrical language describing cats who are rough, cats who are silk, those who frisk and those who are Sphinx-like. Some want your undivided attention while others ignore you completely. It is their aloofness that makes the offered affection so welcome. Sure to please those who always wanted a cat as well as those who are presently owned by one.   (All ages, $15.95) 

Wade Zahares illustrates BIG, BAD AND A LITTLE BIT SCARY. This collection of poems stars all those animal bullies that make us shiver. Young listeners will squirm when you use just the right voice for these poems by celebrated poets. Ogden Nash warns, “if called by a panther, don’t anther”. Lord Alfred Douglas captures the essence of sharks in his poem and Karla Kuskin writes, “I would not want a porcupine to be my loving valentine”. The illustrations are bold, lots of teeth, claws and glaring eyes for kids to stare at while you read. Zahares works out of a studio on his farm in southern Maine where he keeps his eyes open for wild animals. (Ages 5 & up, $15.99)

Seasonal & Holiday Offerings

    Ah, Autumn!
One of the best things about autumn is all those pretty leaves. Barbara Rogasky has selected poetry from twenty-five celebrated poets. Marc Tauss’s photographs are just perfect to bring out the essence of each. We go from the first hint of color in September to the glittering frost of early winter. There are poems about those animals who move with the seasons, like a wild goose, a busy chipmunk, a majestic heron, and a great horned owl. LEAF BY LEAF; Autumn Poems is filled with special images like a sheaf of wheat, a lady in gray cycling against the autumn wind, and a bonfire. This book belongs on your coffee table and in the classroom. (Ages 7 & up, $15.95) 

In JOHNNY APPLESEED; The Story of a Legend, folk artist Will Moses follows in the footsteps of his great-grandmother, the celebrated Grandma Moses. His spirited retelling of the life of this legendary figure introduces a new generation to an American icon. Born John Chapman in 1774, one of 12 children, young John sets out to find the frontier. As he travels, he discovers the wonder of apple trees. He lives his life by a code of morality and practices honesty and kindness to all he meets. A true pioneer, and one of our earliest nurserymen, his adventures offer fodder for colorful storytelling. Early settlers would soon be able to use his trees and orchards as a beacon on their migration. His good character is an even better beacon for young readers to follow today. Will Moses’ obvious affection for the subject shines throughout the book. (All ages, $16.99)

     Hooray for Halloooooooween!
A witch and her cat are enjoying their night ride until the witch loses her hat, her bow, and her wand. Fortunately, there are helpful animals who find them and ask politely to join her. Will there be enough ROOM ON THE BROOM? Julia Donaldson’s funny story is perfect for Halloween reading aloud. The overloaded broom breaks, dumping them into a bog inhabited by a fierce dragon. Things look bleak for the witch until a “swamp monster” saves her. Young readers will recognize her new friends hidden under all that goo. There’s just the right amount of scariness in Axel Scheffler’s illustrations for little trick-or-treaters.  (Ages 4–8, $15.99) 

    Happy Hanukkah!

Here is an elegant gift book by Emily Sper called HANUKKAH; A Counting Book. The symbols of Hanukkah help young children learn to count from one to eight in three different languages; English, Hebrew, and Yiddish. There are clever die cuts of colorful candles that stand out beautifully against a dark background. The Hanukkah story is retold, explaining the menorah, shamash candle, driedels, and more. This is a wonderful book, with nice durable pages, that will be fun to share with the very young. (Ages 3–6, $6.95) 

    Gather Together and Give Thanks
Kate Waters and Russ Kendall have teamed up on several earlier books featuring children in Pilgrim times. Their latest book, GIVING THANKS, is about the 1621 Harvest Feast, told through the voices of a Wampanoag Indian boy and a Pilgrim boy. Photographed in full color at the Plimouth Plantation, it is a fascinating reenactment that makes the reader feel like they are really there. Dancing Moccasins gives his version of what happens and then we read young Resolve’s description. The costumes and settings are spectacular. An author’s note in the back gives further information about the myths that have grown up around this famous event, some Thanksgiving traditions, a recipe for a pottage of native corn with spring herbs, and more about the program offered at Plimouth Plantation. 
(Ages 6–9, $16.95) 

The pilgrims and the Wampanoag Indians join together in another version of THIS FIRST THANKSGIVING DAY. In this counting book, young readers see children “3 in the garden, pulling up roots” to add to the soup, “4 helping Father catch fish in the bay”, and “8 on the sandbar” digging tasty clams to make a steaming stew. The story continues to “12 tables groaning beneath a harvest spread” that all the friends share “joined under one sky with one prayer to say”. Laura Krauss Melmed provides a rhythmic text that artist Mark Beuhner had fun illustrating. There’s a turkey hidden on each page along with lots of surprises to point to and talk about. 
(Ages 3–8, $15.95)

Thomas, Edward, Mary Jane, and their parents leave crowded, dirty London looking for a better life. On their ship with TATTERED SAILS they must deal with “crowded quarters, candle lamp/musty blankets, clothing damp”. Not to mention sea sickness and terrible food. They survive crossing the Atlantic where they step ashore in the colonies with wobbly legs. Things look up as “Mother resting, baby born/ local natives, sharing corn/ Thomas, Edward, Mary Jane/ carting water, planting grain”. Verla Kay tells their story in simple text for the very young. Dan Andreasen scanned traditional graphite drawings and using a custom palette of textured oil paints, added color and details using charms as stencils and carved erasers as stamps. It makes a nice read-aloud before Thanksgiving dinner. 
(Ages 4–8, $15.99) 

As your family gathers together to give thanks during this special season you might like to keep AMAZING GRACES; Prayers and Poems for Children at hand. Compiled by June Cotner and illustrated by Jan Palmer it is an excellent collection that teaches children how easy it is to talk to God. Selections include timeless verses by familiar poets like Robert Browning and Ralph Waldo Emerson as well as some new classics by Madeleine L’Engle and Nikki Grimes. What a great way to help children of all Ages express their love for the family with poems that can be read in the morning, before meals, at bedtime … or anytime. (All ages, $12.95)

Happy Christmas to All

It is the first Christmas Eve and the animals are keeping watch. They gather around the Christ Child to present THE ANIMALS’ CHRISTMAS CAROL. Each one offers a special gift, from the dog who brought in the sheep so the shepherds could follow the star to the camels who carried three men bearing gifts over desert sands. Based on the well-known twelfth century carol, Helen Ward has presented the words as a nativity play. Her gorgeous drawings have been enhanced by the addition of gold highlights that brings out the luster of each two-page spread. The whole family will enjoy this stunning book. (All ages, $17.95) 

If you look closely at the cover of THE CHRISTMAS PROMISE, you will see a father and child in the mist. As the Great Depression deepened in the 1930’s, millions of people lost their homes and wandered the country as hoboes. As the winter comes on the girl wonders, “Do hoboes have Christmas?” Her Poppa answers, “They figure out a way.” Caught riding the rails, they are sent to jail and then Poppa finds a place for the girl to stay, promising he will be back as soon as he finds work. Will he keep this promise? In this moving story, Susan Campbell Bartoletti writes about this desperate time in our history and those who scratched signs on their homes where hoboes could find a meal. Illustrator David Christiana includes the symbols on the endpapers.  (Ages 4 & up, $15.95) 

“Once upon a Christmastime, long ago in Germany, there was a little old woman.” This Tante, which means “Auntie” in German, loved to prepare for the holiday with a beautifully decorated tree, special cookies, and treats for her animals, all except the spiders. All her life she had heard that the animals might speak aloud on Christmas Eve but each year she fell asleep. When Kris Kringle passes by, he sees hundreds of spiders shooed out onto her doorway. They long to see her tree so he lets them inside, leaving her a magical surprise and a COBWEB CHRISTMAS. This traditional tale of the origin of tinsel is retold by Shirley Climo with full color illustrations by Jane Manning. (Ages 4–8, $15.95) 

Holly Hobbie’s beloved characters Toot and Puddle are back! Toot is off to a family reunion in Scotland but promises I’LL BE HOME FOR CHRISTMAS. A huge snowstorm strands him on Christmas Eve. Meanwhile, Puddle keeps busy baking fruit cake, making paper chains for the tree, and decorating the house. How will Toot make it home on time? A special holiday traveler comes to the rescue. This book is a visual delight right from the start with lovely gold touches on the cover that make the Christmas tree sparkle. 
(Ages 4–8, $15.95) 

Colleen Charleston has written ONE ENCHANTED CHRISTMAS book, which comes edged in red velvet and tied with a bow! Illustrator Sally Onopa bases her characters on whimsical handmade dolls called Little Souls. In the story, two dressmakers bustle around their shop. Francesca’s “gray hair was piled high and held in place by a confusion of chopsticks, hat pins, sewing supplies, reading glasses and a splendid recipe for salsa”. Her sister, Tori, is just as flamboyant. One Christmas Eve, they create a special coat for their granddaughter Isa, fashioned from some old velvet curtains. The coat is lined with many small pockets to fill with treasures. Isa just loves it but is willing to offer it as a gift to a certain old gentleman who comes in on the following Christmas Eve in search of a replacement for his own red velvet coat. Guess who! There is a special surprise on the last page. (Ages 4–8, $15.99) 

Newsletter text Copyright 2001 © by Candace Lynch.  All Rights Reserved.